They came back, and they found a little loophole in Buddha’s argument. They said, “You are right as far as 99 percent of people are concerned, or even 99.9 percent of people are concerned, you are right – but what about the one percent of people? You cannot deny that there may be one person who may listen to you. There may be one person in the whole world who may be transformed by your words, and if you don’t speak he will go on groping in darkness – he is just on the boundary line, needs a little push. Don’t be so hard. Just for a few individuals, speak.”
Your question is: Are the words and the works of all the masters only devices?
Yes, they are only devices, devices to bring you closer to truth. There is no direct way to transfer it, hence an indirect way has to be found. That’s what a device is – an indirect way. You think you are doing one thing; the master is planning for something else to happen indirectly.
For example, I am speaking to you: you think this is a discourse. It is not – it is just a device. While you are listening, I am doing my work. You are playing with words. You are so absorbed, so attentive that your mind is completely engaged, and I can have a heart-to-heart contact and the mind will not disturb it. The mind will not even know about it. That heart-to-heart contact happens simply in the presence of the master, but the mind has to be engaged in some toys.
Different masters have used different toys; they are devices. And later on, those devices become religions and people fight over those devices. They are not the real thing. The real thing dies with the master, disappears with the master. It was in his presence, it was in his silence, it was in his eyes, it was in his heartbeat.
And you can see the difference. Gautam Buddha speaks: the same words have been repeated for twenty-five centuries by thousands of Buddhist monks, but those same words don’t create the same impact. What is missing? If it was only the words, then whether Buddha speaks or Tom, Dick, Harry, whoever speaks, it makes no difference – just a gramophone record, “His Master’s Voice” – the master is not there. But why don’t those words create the same ringing of bells in your heart?
When Jesus spoke, or Zarathustra spoke, the words were the same. Every day you use those words, but unless you have the experience your words are empty – they may be scholarly, they may be that of a great pundit, they may be of a great rabbi…this word rabbi always reminds me of rubbish; I cannot get rid of that.
They know the scriptures. Sometimes perhaps they are better orators than Krishna, Mahavira, Buddha; more-trained speakers, with all the technological understanding. Still, their words are dead.
One great Christian theologian often used to come to India. His name was Stanley Jones. Generally he was the guest of the principal of a Christian college. The principal was my friend; that’s how I came to be acquainted with Stanley Jones. He had written many beautiful books, very beautiful. He was a man of tremendous scholarship.